Andrew Bobola (1591 - 16 May 1657) was a Jesuit missionary and martyr.
He was born in 1591 into a noble family in Strachocina, Poland. In 1611 he entered the Jesuits in Vilnius. He subsequently took solemn vows in 1630 and then served for several years as an advisor, preacher, superior of a cloister, etc in various places. From 1652 he also worked as a country missionary in among other places Polock, Lithuania, where he was probably stationed in 1655, and also in Pinsk, Lithuania. Known as "an Apostle of Pinszczyzna" and "a hunter of souls".
On 16 May 1657 he was captured in the village of Peredil, Lithuania by the Cossacks of Chmielnicki, subjected to incredible slow and diabolical tortures (amputated limbs, flayed skin, burn wounds, wood slivers driven underneath the fingernails, cut-off nose) and killed (in Janów Poleski).
At the beginning of the 18th century nobody knew where his corpse was buried. In 1701 Father Martin Godebski, the rector of the Pinsk college had a vision of Andrew Bobola. This caused him to order a search for the body. It was found completely undecomposed, which was widely recognized as a proof of holiness. In 1719 the casket was officially reopened and the body inspected by qualified medical personnel (five physicians and pharmacists). It was still completely undecomposed: pliable, the flesh soft.
In 1922 Bolsheviks moved the corpse to Moscow as an exhibit ("curiosity", just due to its good condition) in the Museum of Hygiene of People's Commissioners of Health. In May 1924 the holy relic - as a kind of "pay" for help during famine - was delivered to the Holy See. Since 17 June 1938 it has been in Warsaw.
Declared Blessed by Pius IX on 30 October 1853.
Canonized by Pope Pius XII on 17 April 1938.
His feastday is held on May 16.
Since May 16, 2002 Andrew Bobola is a patron saint of Poland.
He is a patron saint of the Warsaw archdiocese too.
Today some join St Andrew with St. Peter the Aleut, a martyr for the Orthodox faith from the hands of Roman Catholics, in a special devotion for the reunion of the two branches of Christianity.